January Staff Picks

Takoma Park Library

January Staff Picks

Follow amateur sleuths as they investigate disappearances, illegal operations, and murder in the 19th century. One thing in common: the sleuths are near the ocean at some point during their search! These historical mystery series titles can be checked out or downloaded from the library.

Betrayal on the Bowery by Kate Belli
Summer 1889, New York City. Genevieve Stewart is an investigative journalist for a major city paper and a member of society. Daniel McCaffery is a young lawyer who has inherited money from a wealthy benefactor. As the novel opens, pair are seeing their newly wedded friends, Rupert and Esmie Milton, off on their honeymoon trip at the docks. A young man bursts into their cabin on the ship, screaming about demons before dying on the floor. In the young man's pocket, there's a small medal for a dangerous bar in the Lower East Side. It means the person survived the night in the bar. Daniel was once a gang member in the dangerous Five Points area. Could someone from a rival gang have unsettled business with him? Genevieve and Daniel's investigation takes them to an empty house in the Bronx where they discover it's being used for smuggling. It also provides a major lead to their case and a showdown. This novel is the new and second installment in the "Gilded Gotham Mystery" series.

Miss Moriarty, I Presume? by Sherry Thomas
Charlotte Holmes is stunned when the notorious Moriarty arrives at her London home. He is searching for his daughter who's disappeared, and he wants Charlotte to find her. Based on Moriarty's information, Charlotte and Mrs. Watson go to a remote coastal community in Cornwall to start their search. Lord Ingram, Charlotte's longtime friend and fellow investigator, helps out with the case. Meanwhile Livia, Charlotte's younger sister, is trying to figure out a mysterious message from her beau Stephen Marbleton. As Charlotte uncovers the details about Miss Moriarty's disappearance, she begins to wonder about the real meaning behind Moriarty's demand. The novel is the latest installment in the Lady Sherlock Mystery series; I recommend reading the books in order.

A Corruption of Blood by Ambrose Parry
Edinburgh, 1850. Dr. Will Raven and Sarah Fisher's latest investigation takes them through Edinburgh's social divides and dark secrets. As the story opens, Will is in the Port of Leith, outside of Edinburgh, when a dead baby is found by a fisherman. It's disturbing even for him. Sarah, who's an assistant to the prominent Dr. James Simpson, is traveling on the continent to meet Dr. Elizabeth Blackwell. It's her wish to become a doctor. Sarah meets with Dr. Blackwell, however, their conversation leaves Sarah feeling discouraged. Will receives a request to help Gideon, a young man who he tutored in his university days. Gideon is under suspicion for a crime he says he didn't commit. When Sarah returns to Edinburgh, she reunites with Will in Dr. Simpson's office. Will and Sarah also consider their futures. A well-researched novel! The end pages feature a period city map of Leith. The previous two novels in the series are available.

Murder at the Royal Botanic Gardens by Andrea Penrose
As Charlotte Sloane continues her return into polite society, she and her fiancee the Earl of Wrexford attend an event in the Royal Botanic Gardens outside of London. Josiah Becton, a visiting American botanist, is found dead as the guests are enjoying the reception. Wrexford learns Mr. Becton had discovered a new plant with medical potential. The investigation is a welcome distraction for Charlotte as the couple's upcoming wedding approaches. When the evidence is thin, Charlotte uses her secret A.J. Quill pseudonym. The couple learns there could be a war once again, and multiple villains are looking to gain from it. This is the new and fifth installment in the "Wrexford & Sloane Historical Mystery" series.

Honorable Mention
Down a Dark River by Karen Odden
The first book in a new series--Inspector Michael Corravan of Scotland Yard investigates a series of mysterious deaths on the River Thames.